The X-Men franchise has always been over-stuffed with characters, so it’s hardly surprising that this instalment – now set in the early ’80s – focuses on yet another group of new mutants. Well, new in this incarnation, as Scott Summers/Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Jean Grey/Phoenix (Sophie Turner) were major players in the original timeline. Here they’re students of Professor X (James McAvoy) when the Egyptian-era evil of “first mutant” Apocalypse (an unrecognisable Oscar Issacs) is revived and promptly begins gathering his four horsemen as part of his scheme to, well, just generally trash the place.
Unfortunately, Magneto (Michael Fassbender) has just seen his wife and daughter killed, so he’s in the kind of bad place Apocalypse can take full advantage of. A sloppy plot that takes forever to get going is partially redeemed by director Bryan Singer’s way with superhero action (yet again super-speedster Quicksilver gets a great scene), and generally strong work from the new cast (the established guys largely phone it in) keeps their scenes fun to watch. It’s even occasionally funny. A tighter focus (we haven’t even mentioned Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique) and more propulsive script would have helped this a lot. As it stands, there’s a lot of really good elements here that don’t quite come together.
Reviewed by Anthony Morris